Analysis

If I Could Only Use One Credit Card Forever, This Is the One I’d Pick

Confession time: I have a lot of credit cards. After closing a grand total of one credit card last month, four cards vie for my attention. It’s a lot. It’s especially daunting come payment time; I’m opening multiple accounts to check my balances. Making sure I get everything takes effort.

What’s the big deal, you say? Well, a single late payment would wreck my credit score, possibly making it very difficult for me to take out affordable loans. Plus, I’m charged a 20-something percent interest fee when I carry a credit balance. I’m very not okay with that.

Despite my juicy credit rewards, I fantasize about spending with only a single card. I’ve looked into it and decided that if I could only use one credit card forever, I’d pick the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card. (See rates and fees.) The reason is simple: 2% cash back on everything.

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I’d pick the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card has been rolling around Reddit recently, gaining steam. It offers 2% cash rewards on everything with no caps. That’s half as much as what many cards offer on their top categories, but it’s twice as much as what cards offer on everything else.

That’s a big deal. You earn about twice as much for swiping on whatever you want. Me? The less I have to think about my credit cards, the better. That’s why I only use my Prime Visa card at Amazon and my DoorDash card for DoorDash orders. I get the maximum rewards without putting much thought into it.

But if I could only use one card, I’d want one like the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card, which offers flat rewards on everything. It’s not just easy; it’s profitable for more reasons than one.

Flat rewards prevent you from overspending

My DoorDash Rewards Mastercard® is great because it offers me 4% back on DoorDash. That was wonderful, right up until I started realizing I was spending too much ordering from DoorDash. I justified the cost by saying I was getting a good deal. 12 months later, I can confidently say that I was overspending.

Bonus categories that offer 4% to 5% back are great when you already spend on those categories. It’s easy cash back. But problems arise when bonus categories incentivize you to spend much more than you typically would on things you don’t need.

A flat-rate card that offers a single reward for everything has no weird incentives. It doesn’t subtly push you to spend more on delivery or travel, which is a huge perk.

My spending habits will change as I age. I’ll spend more on things like travel and groceries, so my credit card must offer good rewards no matter what I buy.

Flat-rate cards are the most flexible cards out there — you get the same rewards rate on everything. As of writing, the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is the best widely available flat-rate card. It has downsides like foreign transaction fees, but offers solid rewards and no annual fees.

The Wells Fargo credit card stacks up well with similar cards

The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card compares well to other flat rewards cards. Two alternatives I’ve considered are the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card and the Robinhood Gold Card.

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card features:

  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on everything
  • $200 Cash Back welcome bonus (after spending $500 in the first 3 months)
  • Zero foreign transaction fees

The Robinhood Gold Card features:

  • Unlimited 3% cash back on everything
  • 5% cash back on purchases through the Robinhood travel portal
  • Zero foreign transaction fees

Though the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card charges foreign transaction fees, I chose it over the above for several reasons. It offers more cash rewards than the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card (the bonus offer is identical). And unlike the Robinhood Gold Card, a waitlisted product, the Wells Fargo credit card is available immediately upon approval. It’s got an established history.

If the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card offers better cash back or the Robinhood card lives up to the hype, I’ll consider changing my top pick of one credit card to use forever. It’s okay if you feel differently. The best credit card for you is one that meets you where you are right now.

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